Review of the Lipa Apparitions

Multiple Authors

In 1948, a series of apparitions was alleged to have taken place in the Carmel Community in Lipa, Batangas by Our Lady, identifying herself as the Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace to Sister Teresita Lat Castillo, a 21-year-old Carmelite postulant. Sister Teresing as she is commonly called escaped from her home of convenience where she was being groomed to be pianist by her well-to-do parents to join the Carmelite community in Lipa.

Before the said apparitions, she was tortured by the devil in her cell. In several occasions, the devil will knock on her door to tempt her. These events prior to Our Lady’s appearance will constitute how the devil would “poison the wells” so that future investigators could say that the devil was ahead influencing her. She was told by the devil to immediately go back home because apparently her father was suffering so much because of her leaving home to become a nun. She was shown how he could not concentrate on his cases he was reviewing as a judge and would just peer longingly out into the window hoping to see her coming back home. Sister Teresing’s father was Judge of Industrial Relations and would later become Governor of the Province of Batangas, Modesto Castillo. According to her diary (which was ordered burnt later by Rufino Cardinal Santos), this made her so homesick but she fought her emotions because she wanted to serve God.

On her first appearance also in her cell August 18 1948, Our Lady said, “Do not be afraid, my daughter. Him whom you love above all things has sent me to bring you a message.” One of the messages was “My daughter, suffering will always be with you till the end of your life.” She was asked to wash the feet of her prioress, Maria Cecilia de Jesus (Natividad Zialcita) and drink the water which was used to wash them, to which she complied. On September 12, at 5:00, she said that she “must pray for priests and nuns” implying that it pains the lord so much whenever a religious falls in to sin. On September 13, she appeared with a rosary with golden beads. On September 14, the first shower of rose petals occurred in the monastery. In her apparition at 5:00 where the Lipai vine, (also called Lipa, after which the town was named.) outside in the future garden site moved singularly to call her attention she said, “I wished this place to be blessed tomorrow.” When she asked for her wish as to the time of the blessing she answered, “Anytime your Mother Prioress wants, my child.” And then she added that “I forbid you to forget the events of these fifteen days.”

When the Prioress told Alfredo Maria Aranda Obviar, the Auxiliary Bishop of Lipa and Spiritual Director of the Carmelite Community about the Lady’s wish, he demanded proof. As a just man of God, he couldn’t take the risk of not practicing discernment over matters like this. At this point, the seer has strangely been stricken blind and when the two religious authorities approached her, one sweet voice told the prioress to lift her veil so that she can kiss her eyes. Before Auxiliary Bishop Obviar, the prioress indeed kissed her eyes and she regained her sight. Thus, the Bishop no longer doubted and blessed the ground where the Lipai vine grew. There, Our Lady appeared again to Sister Teresing with clasped hands with her feet resting on a cloud which was about two feet above the ground. Auxiliary Bishop Obviar and the other nuns also witnessed the shower of rose petals. The auxiliary bishop became a believer and didn’t keep this conviction to himself. This costed him much as he was bypassed into becoming a full-pledged bishop for some time. When he was made Bishop of the new diocese of Lucena, he continued to believe in the Lipa apparitions but it was no longer his jurisdiction.

An Ilocano, Bishop Alfredo Florentin Versoza succeeded him. A staunch defender of Catholicism against the Aglipayan movement or the Philippine Independent Church he was a natural skeptic against Filipino innovation such as perhaps a Philippine apparition. And yet, visiting Carmel and seeking God’s guidance concerning the events which happened there, he was in prayer when a petal fell on his shoulder and inspecting the petal, he was right away turned into a believer. Thus, as bishop he ruled the apparitions as supernatural and the image of Mary, Mediatrix of All grace as worthy of veneration. This did not sit well with church hierarchy but he wouldn’t change his mind and so the punishment eventually came. Despite the fact that all Lipenos know that he was instrumental in building many schools and religious houses in Lipa before the war broke and in spite of the fact that he was able to get from the reparations commission money for rebuilding the war-ravaged institutions, he was accused of financial mismanagement by false witnesses put up by people in power and was consequently stripped of all his episcopal powers. He was only a bishop in name only. The young and rising Rufino Jiao Santos was made apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Lipa, and it was him who organized the group of bishops which will silence and suppress the claims of Lipa apparitions.

The April 1951 Verdict found the events in Lipa not “supernatural” in origin and “not worthy of belief” including the shower of petals. The group led by Mons. Santos was composed of Gabriel M. Reyes (Archbishop, Manila), Vicente P. Reyes, (Aux. Bishop, Manila), Cesar Guerrero (Bishop, San Fernando), Juan Sison (Aux. Bishop, Nueva Segovia), and Mariano Madriaga (Bishop, Lingayen). The group did not actually conduct an investigation which was worthy of any layman’s belief. But the very quick proceedings may be considered not only supernatural but “fantastic” because in the June Keithley-Castro interview of Francisco Dychangco of the Lipa research center handling the possibility of re-opening the case, he was able to ask Bishop Vicente Reyes who was already assigned at Cabanatuan at that time because according to him, they were called to report at 9:00 AM at the Arzobispado in Intramuros, had the conference and were made to sign the negative judgement at 3:00 PM of the same day, a record of just six hours for the six prelates to sign on the sixth of April, 1951. Asked further, if they themselves investigated, he answered in the negative saying that there was a body or commission in charge of that.

But there was no body nor commission other than them to officially sign nor conduct the Lipa investigation. The Papal Nuncio Egidio Vagnozzi had a direct hand in all these as he has prejudgment against the case as a mere invention of the nuns. He called on Sister Teresing and simply heaped insults on her even calling her the devil herself and bursting into tears as she was already being dismissed, she even asked for his blessing. But Bishop Vagnozzi, acting more like a typical tyrannical official of the Nazi Party withheld his blessing for her. In fact, she was never interrogated by any bishop except by the motivated Santos, not even by the Carmelite prelate sent by Rome until she died on Nov. 16, 2016 at the age of 89. Our Lady’s words were proven true, she suffered in life even unto death. The two bishops who believed in her, Alfredo Obviar and Alfredo Verzosa were also never investigated until their deaths making it obviously and very irregular for the conduct of the Church investigation to be considered satisfactory. Even the prioress who was willing to give her life for the truth was never interrogated.

On the contrary, acts hostile to the cause were made. Nuncio Vagnozzi ordered the burning of the visionary and the prioress’ diaries which Bishop Santos readily obeyed including papers concerning the apparition. He was detailed enough to have rose stems included which petals were removed implying that there was indeed deception. Mother Mary of the Sacred Heart and Sister Mary Balthazar and some other sisters witnessed the burning. Of course, to the horror of the sisters the heavenly petals were also burned. But the Bishop even threw the image of the Mediatrix into the bonfire. It was good that the sisters have kept one before he searched Then they produced testimonies of rose flower deliveries and the prioress’ “confession” of deception. It is quite interesting to note that this wily bishop did not search for industrial blowers which could probably approximate the showery spread of petals in the air.

Sister Teresing was expelled from Carmel, with Ma Mere, the Frenchwoman who took over as prioress, tearfully telling her that it was the better choice because she might be readmitted, while the two others who believed in her, Mother Mary Cecilia and Sister Mary Anne of Jesus, prioress and infirmarian respectively, were moved to other Carmel communities. But even in Jaro Carmel the shower of petals followed the Prioress even if they were forbidden to speak about Lipa. The prioress was reduced to a mere scullery maid in Jaro as ordered. In October 1962, Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani had a curious letter which surfaced recently addressed to the Most Rev. Anastacio of the Most Holy Rosary, the Prior Gen. of the Discalceds. It mentioned the holding of canonical elections and the acceptance of new novices or postulants “provided that they are informed of the judgments and decisions made” made about the happenings in Lipa. And concerning the two nuns, that they should be rehabilitated as choir members but they should permanently be deprived of active and passive voice.” But it also mentioned that there was “no data in the archives of the Holy See” concerning Lipa which means that its cause had never been elevated to the investigation of the Holy See, a very serious flaw in the church’s formal investigation. This led to the remark by the former Bishop of Borongan, Godofredo Pedernal that the so-called investigation made by Santos’ group was premature because a normal investigation should last some years. In fact, concerning the Carmelites, one had to ask who was sent to investigate and for how long? The Director General seemed not to have filed any official report. A Fr. Michael who was supposed to have been sent to investigate from Rome had no official report on the nature of his investigation on the negative decision on Lipa. The highest OCD official reported to Vagnozzi regularly to be taught what to do.

Bishop Pedernal was recounting what the other signatories experienced. “The same thing as the other ones who signed like Archbishop Juan Sison of Vigan. It’s the same thing with Sison -all the bishops that have signed- they never did away with the petal that they get, that the sisters gave them. Fr. Pablo Fernandez, O.P. said that the papal nuncio should have not interfered with the matter on petals but only the Philippine hierarchy. He was of opinion that the “white man in those times had a superiority either real or supposed over Filipinos because were close to the time of colonization.” But the influence of Santos can not be discounted either because one time Bishop Pedernal happened to accompany Bishop Obviar to Bishop Cesar Guerrero at the Hospicio de San Jose, Bishop Obviar asked the question why he signed the 1951 Negative Judgment, when he knew that he was a believer as he had always kept his petal. He said, “I have to sign because the cardinal said we all have to sign this.”

To be fair to the memory of Bishop of San Fernando, witness nuns from the Angeles Carmel will always welcome him every 21st of November to celebrate mass and to recall the apparition days in Lipa. With tears, he would longingly wish that Church approval to the apparitions will still happen as he had always prayed for it. But his greatest act would come on his deathbed.

Fr. Lorenzo Maria Guerrero, a Jesuit, and former President of the Marian Movement of Priests made an affidavit concerning the late Bishop Cesar Guerrero, his uncle concerning his statement before his death. On February 11, 1990, he cited the 1951 Negative Judgment against the Lipa apparitions of Our Lady and later disclosed that he was still alive when he heard him say that he only signed the document under duress. Lastly, the nephew disclosed that he believed in the apparitions made by Our Lady, Mediatrix of All Grace in the Carmelite Convent of Lipa during the year 1948.

Perhaps one of the less credible pronouncements at that time, by Our Lady was about China. Perhaps, too, when the prophecy was transmitted to them, they had discovered something near to ridiculous. China during the time of the apparitions was so destitute from the Japanese invasion and its own civil war between the Koumintang and the Communists. In fact, after Chiang Kai Shek’s party escaped to Taiwan, it was only then that Mao Ze Dong and the twelve others had the chance to form the Communist Party in Shanghai. And it would take decades before China will finally recover economically remaining communist but using capitalism. Looking back at that time no one could believe that China would be capable of world conquest. On October 17, 1949 told Sister Teresita a secret, “Pray hard for China’s dream to invade the world. The Philippines is one of its favorites. Money is the evil force that lead the people of the world to destruction.” Ricardo Cardinal Vidal finds this prophetic message on China truly relevant. Even now, it is showing its phenomenal force in West Philippine Sea and it’s buying its way using the yuan through infrastructure development in the hearts of nations.

Also, after WWII, there was word circulating that the Church would be stricter with prophetic pronouncements. It must be the plan of the of the Freemasons which have infiltrated the Church to dissuade the faithful from knowing the truth through visionaries and seers so that their staged plans must remain secret. It seemed that the Marian apparitions have a perfect batting average for prophetic accuracies such as the occurrence WWI and WWII and other worldwide events and so, infiltrators in power must sabotage possible authentic apparitions. The apparition in Lipa just happened right after the war and is therefore worrisome for them.

Another difficulty that they must have encountered was the difference between Mediatrix of All Graces of which the Church is already comfortable with and Mediatrix of All Grace. In fact, Our Lady’s role in mediation had found fresh impetus in Belgium the year before Lipa. But Fr. Gerard Timoner, O.P., formerly of the international Theological Commission feels that events in Lipa “invite us a closer theological scrutiny if the message truly came from the Blessed Mother and Teresing heard her accurately, then the Blessed Mother was correcting if not refining the title Mediatrix of All Graces which was formerly accorded to her.”

Very apt for a Carmelite, Carlo Enrico C. Tinio, OCD wrote in his paper, Omnium Gratianum (2006) wrote; “Having written that, Mary’s role as Mediatrix must always be connected to her role as the mother of Christ, similarly in the teaching “of All Graces” which focuses on the different aspects of dispensing various needs of the church coming from Christ, now, the “All Grace” focus on the relationship of Mary being the mother to the One encompassing “grace”. It is important again to remember here the focus of the teaching is in Christ being the “Self-Offering of God” and not on Mary.” His paper therefore, saw no difference between “of All Graces” and “of All Grace”. The implication therefore is clear, Our Lady is pointing at Jesus (All Grace) because her assistance as Mediatrix does not lessen nor diminish the Lord’s role as Mediator between God and man.

There must have been another “attempt of magic” because there were accounts of other priests asked to sign against the Lipa Apparitions which come up in other accounts. Bishop Pedernal witnessed an exchange between Bishop Obviar and Msgr. Morelli. Msgr. Morelli was asking Bishop Obviar why he did not pursue the cause of the Lipa apparitions. In a rare occurrence, the Bishop got angry told him that why he had to sign against it when he was actually a believer. Morelli said he signed on the pain of excommunication as the others did. Then the bishop told him he could do it himself as he is just under the nose of the Pope but he said the Filipino bishops have more power to do it. Bishop Ramon Arguelles cited another bishop, Jose Maria Cuenco who became the Archbishop of Jaro as someone who also signed against the Lipa apparitions under duress. Their signatures must be on other papers constituting Vagnozzi’s hidden arsenal.

Proceedings like this have made the results of the investigation harder to accept especially when bishops themselves manifest displeasure. For instance, bishop Patrick Harmon Shanley, OCD of the Infanta prelature actually renounced the proceedings when he learned that Bishops were made to sign the negative judgment on the pain of excommunication by the Papal Nuncio in spite of the fact that Vagnozzi was his principal consecrator when he became bishop.

Concerning the alleged visionary, it is interesting to note that Fr. Angel de Blas, O.P. which I believed Vaganozzi, had been hoping to find something damaging against her, for his intentions, has this to say about Sister Teresing; ”As regards Sr. Teresita Castillo, I think she is incapable of lying, or bending (reality) to create fiction of whatever nature.” we therefore couldn’t blame former judge Harriet O. Demetriou when she said that “Teresita must be classified under the group visionaries and seers” citing that she has received “supernatural favors from heaven”. Atty. Demetriou indeed knows how to classify such that she found O.P. exorcist Winston Cabading seemed to have overdone himself when he attached the word “demonic” to the Lipa apparitions to charge him before the court of law. This seemed to have stemmed from Fr. Cabading’s exchange with noted American exorcist Fr. Cliff Ermatinger during a conference on spiritual liberation and exorcism. Fr. Cabading never asked Fr. Ermatinger if special commissions to investigate apparitions should also be exorcised. We have already mentioned that the devil could ‘poison the wells’ earlier. Fr. Cabading said he was not referring to the Lipa events when he mentioned the word “demonic” in the conference referred to. However, Atty. Demetriou is correct when she said that Cabading’s pronouncement of the alleged Pius XII ban was made on April 11, 1951 as ridiculous. The fact that said document was done only within six hours, deliberations and all, is already absurd; hence, claiming that it had been reviewed, as implied and signed by the pope on the said day would really be ridiculous.

These events prompted Caloocan bishop and CBCP president, Pablo Virgilio David to express sadness what “may indicate our shortcomings in church leaders in facilitating dialogue and fostering communion” for and within the church. We should take note that Fr. Cabading and Atty. Demetriou are both Marian devotees. Even if Atty. Demetriou’s case using Sec. 133 would be dismissed, as I see it possible, I still believe she has done what other Catholic leaders have failed to do. She has awakened even the Filipino bishops, or at least one of them, into realizing their failure to attend to something very important to the cause Our Lady or at least to the religious sensibility of the Filipino people.

Bishop David was right, the church leaders did not facilitate real dialogue between the belligerents in the Lipa events and hostility rather than fostering communion was the stance initiated by the Papal Nuncio who is a foreigner. His lack of discernment failed to see the overwhelming devotion given by the Filipinos to the Mediatrix of All Grace.

Realizing these failures a long time ago, Bishop Mariano Gaviola of Lipa lifted the 40-year-ban against the Lipa apparitions even allowing literature concerning it to be publicized for the public to know such as the one by Msgr. Nicanor de Villa in 1992. And the bold Bishop Ramon Arguelles simply continued his legacy. Sister Alphonse, one of the Carmelite sisters in Lipa expressed in her deathbed to see the image of the Mediatrix of All Grace being venerated again. Six days later, Bishop Arguelles lifted the ban on her images. However, in 2015 the alleged ruling by pope Pius XII was again used to stop bishop Arguelles. All these despite the many new information that came out and the overwhelming spiritual fruits of the devotion to Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace continue to bring. I now wonder about how these two gentlemen made their decisions to retire because for the record they actually resigned or in the nuance of Vatican II, were they made to resign? Right now, I pray that Bishop Gilbert Armea Garcera would have the universal sense of justice not just the practical woke type who will stick to his comfort zone and go with the flow. But I would rather that CBCP will have the collective effort to re-investigate the case since, Monsignor Morelli was right when he told Bishop Obviar that the Philippine bishops themselves could be effective in this or the Dominican Fr. Pablo Fernandez opinion that the Filipino hierarchy would have been more efficient had not the Papal Nuncio, who is a foreigner, and who does not know the pulse of the land, interfered. At least some foreigners like Bishop Shanley because he had worked with the Filipino people and Monsignor Morelli who experienced a miracle similar to the Fatima miracle of the sun in Lipa Carmel would have favorable sentiments.

But before I close, may I ask the Filipino Cardinals and Bishops to please have a harder look at the Lipa Carmel events of 1948 this time because of the following reasons;


Timeliness. The prophecy given by Our Lady on China and the Philippines is so timely that the Filipino people need spiritual unity against the projected Chinese invasion which was impossible in 1948 during the time of the apparition. Please remember that World War II and the infighting within the Church we witness now, were during the times they were prophesied, unbelievable. Today, China has the money to tempt the world and to enforce its ways. A Marian slogan says Ang Pilipinas ay tinaguriang Pueblo amante de Maria hindi province of China.


Procedural blunder.
The group organized by Bishop Rufino Jiao Santos failed to assess and investigate the events of Lipa Carmel because:

  1. The Papal Nuncio Egidio Vagnozzi was biased from the very beginning and he still interfered in the process.
  2. Bishop Rufino Santos was the only one who really interviewed Teresita Castillo among the signatories of the negative judgment. The rest listened to him deliberate on the matter and he was the one who ask them to sign because they all had to be on this.
  3. The signatures of the other bishops were obtained under duress and in the questionable deliberation period of only six hours within the day.
  4. The report of Fr. Angel de Blas, O.P. who was supposed to assess the seer’s personality found her incapable of lying but this was not included in the report submitted to the Vatican.
  5. Reports of other signatures in addition to the negative judgment signed by six bishops imply other sets of signatures prepared but these were no longer necessary as none of them have been submitted, too.
  6. The two Bishop Alfredos (Obviar and Verzosa) who succeeded each other as bishops of Lipa both believed in the Lipa apparitions but were never investigated by the investigators on the subject.
  7. All the nuns who believed in the visionary or experienced other mystical phenomena i.e. the shower of roses, were never given the chance to defend their stand and are instead suppressed.
  8. Miracles attributed to the Lipa apparitions including those made through the rose petals were simply ignored by the investigators.
  9. No reputable study was made on the rose petals despite the presence of many reputable institutions.
  10. There was no mechanism for oversight or abuse.


Testimony of a Dying Witness.
Bishop Cesar Guerrero, on the witness of Carmelite nuns continued to believe in the events at Lipa Carmel and longed for their approbation by the Church despite his being one of the signatories against them. In fact, an affidavit by his nephew, Lorenzo Ma. Guerrero, S.J. concerning his pronouncements before his death extinguished all doubts concerning them as already mentioned above.


Denunciation by a Bishop.
As already mentioned, a denunciation had been made by the American Carmelite Bishop of the Infanta Prelature as early as the mention of duress for the signatories was mentioned, why wasn’t anything done concerning this?


Missing Proofs at the Level of the Holy See.
There is an implied admission that necessary documents at the level of the Holy See are not extant. This means that the decision was only reached at the lower levels and therefore, whenever proofs are asked nothing can be produced except the repetition of the so-called decision.


The Devil’s Presence.
The devil’s initial presence in the cell life of Sister Teresing may lead one to think that it’s all the devil’s handiwork. This stimulus generalization does not apply to saintly lives as saints have regular disturbance by the devil such that the said saints have assigned them nicknames. St. Gemma Galgani calls her usual tormentor as Chiapino meaning burglar while St. Padre Pio calls his Grappo or wrestler. Besides, even the Lord Himself was tempted in the wilderness initially before His public ministry.


Peculiar Behavior.
In the biographies of seers, some peculiar behavior is the subject of awe but are in themselves manifestations of humility and mandate of heaven. The important thing is not to consider them irrelevant at all because we may not have the appropriate faculty to judge them. St. Bernadette had eaten some grass as commanded and some other seers are asked to drink water normally considered dirty.


Playing Favorites.
Some nuns afflicted with jealousy and envy has accused the Prioress of favoring Sister Teresing allowing them to conspire with men with malicious intent to have rose stems without petals and some delivery receipts placed within Lipa Carmel to dispel belief in the miraculous shower of roses. Supposing there was indeed favoritism, and supposing you are the Prioress, wouldn’t you feel some special concern on a postulant who had left the comfort of her wealthy home for the simple accommodations of Carmel?


Burning Evidences.
One of the malpractices allowed in the Church until today is the burning of unwanted materials. Thus, in Vatican so many missals in Latin were burned preparatory to the propagation of the Novos Ordo missal. If the Post-Vatican II Church leaders were intent in allowing the Latin Mass to continue side by side with the new mass, why then do they have to burn the Latin Missals as if they were heretical books? In Lipa Carmel, they also burned materials related to the devotion of Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace and the bishop even went as far as throwing the image of Our Lady already being venerated. As it turned out, some of the rose petals which were being picked up by some of the sisters turned into ash; an omen of the future burning.


Miraculous Rose Petals.
The saboteurs lost no time in destroying everything which would remind mankind of Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace but unfortunately for them many rose petals have already been distributed out of the Carmel community perhaps each of them to contribute to the growth of faith. Each rose petal has a unique religious picture just like a smaller version of the “estampita” which could remind the devout concerning his faith on a delicate petal rose. I just saw one of them and I believed right away. Some found their way into UP, the center of rational philosophy in islands and they could not explain how they were possibly “published” individually, more so, how they could withstand the test of time. But the stories kept adding up for they were found to be miraculously curative.


Call to Sanctity.
The religious involved in the Lipa apparitions are now being considered towards Canonization e.g. Bishop Obviar of Lucena whose new diocese was bereft of support for a new one, Bishop Versoza of Lipa who went home in poverty to his hometown, after practically spending his family fortune on war-ravaged Lipa, just to roll tobacco leaves to help the impoverished family earn some money. And yet these two Alfredos still managed to form catechetical groups of their own as their legacies which is a rare case of communion inn Spirit. And Natividad Zialcita, the scullery maid whom the petals followed even where she was exiled. What would the hesitant bishops do when Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace affirm their lives of sanctity? It’s just a matter of time.


The Truth to Come Out.
The same bishop as witnessed by a nun of Angeles Carmel, Mo. Therese of the Holy Face said that “Someday, the truth will come out. It’s the fault of that man.” The singularity of “that man” could either point to Nuncio Vagnozzi who interfered in everything or Bishop Santos, who was the agent for the signing. Rufino Cardinal Santos, the first Filipino to be given the red hat died eight days after turning 65. He had suffered from diabetes and a malignant brain tumor. Egidio Vagnozzi will have a longer life and even become more powerful for he died at age of 74and even becoming Camerlengo of the College of Cardinals. But on Dec. 26, 1980, counted among the mysteries surrounding the death of John Paul I, he was found mysteriously dead. In the book, The Vatican Murders: the Life and Death of John Paul I by Lucien Gregoire, his is the only death unexplained even after a few months already. He was just found in his apartment floor dead slumped after having attended the audit of the IOR depository. Now, they can no longer be here to be interviewed.


The 1951 Negative Judgment is Unofficial.
As already pointed out by Atty. Harriet Demetriou, there were already repeated requests to show the official papers ruling against the Lipa apparitions but to no avail. There will also be repeated signature campaigns by the faithful to re-open the case but the Filipino bishops do not find the idea laudable. But the Filipino people are right in insisting because the said 1951 ruling by Pius XII is not in the Acta Apostolico Sedis which registers all the official acts of the Holy Pontiff. The ruling is therefore not only invalid but also non-existent and therefore not binding. Any attempt to bring out one now can only produce one which is fraudulent. The Muller Ban is therefore not binding.


Tolerance and Sensitivity.
After years of painstaking study, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has ruled that the so many appearances of Medjugorje do not constitute anything supernatural in origin. No miraculous claim such as healings could be linked to the apparitions there. And yet, the seers continue to be treated with respect and even adulation in the Catholic Church because of the tolerance and sensitivity accorded to the events there. And the Church responded well with its commissions which studied their authenticity even if some of its fruits are already very telling such as the case of Tomislav Vlasic who was defrocked and yet continued to be supported by one of the seers in his new age movement despite the nun he had impregnated. And the Virgin apparently defended him and another Franciscan friar with the “Queen of Peace” and “Mother of the Redeemer” threatening to have the Bishop against them tried in her court and in her Son’s. Any Catholic apologist can easily defend the mentioned titles and therefore are nothing new to the faith, except that any historian can wonder about what happened to Herzegovina after the “Queen of Peace” appeared there. And this is where as a Filipino, I am baffled at the church’s lack of tolerance and sensitivity to the Filipino people. Because despite many appeals and with the exposition of flaws in the 1951 special commission, Vatican is adamant to re-open the investigation. If the Church is tolerant even to other religions because of ecumenism, then why is it so intolerant and insensitive to the Filipino faithful? Why is the religious expression in the province of Batangas even suppressed that even the title “Mediatrix of All Grace” is treated like heresy.


Problematic Title.
For Harriet Demetriou, the bottom line of her charging Fr. Winston Cabading was to rouse the church into addressing the Lipa problem. Why can’t the church theologians define “Mediatrix of All Grace” as heretical? That is my bottom line issue. It would have been easier for the Church to do away with the events in Lipa, once and for all. But no, it will be hard for you because the Seat of Wisdom had spoken refining the former accolade she had been given through hundreds of years of church history. She is not to be honored as the Dispenser of all graces but she is pointing very well at her Son as All Grace so that the focus will be on His Being the Source of all graces as All Grace. Why would the Church find this refinement problematic when she is only doing something which is due His Majesty, in her humility.

Although local bishops like Gaviola and Arguelles paid attention to the spiritual pulse of the people, even trying to restudy the case with initiative the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith had in 2016 also banned all commissions still studying the events in Lipa which is why now we have a problematic situation. Perhaps, Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Muller had no choice but to repeat the negative judgment of 1951 since no pertinent documents concerning the case are extant for his study but he should have not banned those researching on the matter. He, however had a dose of his own medicine when Pope Francis told him on the last minute that he is not going to reappoint him as the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith. He was not given any chance to defend himself. Now, he had come out as a critic of the pope concerning some issues on modernism.

It is said that Lipa itself is named after the deciduous shrub (about 3-5 m.) dendrocnide or laportea meyeniana or the vine (1-3 m.) fleurya or laportea interrupta which are called lipai or lipa and both causing intense itching or contact dermatitis because of stinging trichosomes or hair from twigs and leaves, respectively. Photographs now, of the image being venerated however, show another ornamental vine beside it and not the lipai which caught the seer’s attention back in 1948. From the visionary’s own account, it was definitely not the shrub but the vine (interrupta)where our Lady appeared.

Perhaps as any mountaineer should know that the invisible hair of this native nettle are dangerous as his sojourn to find the mystery of his exploit. This is therefore as problematic as the Lipa events of 1948. Any attempt to remove it is from the spiritual environment would be painful as it has already attached itself to native spirituality and yet any attempt to have it recognized will also prove harmful as any attempt to arrive at the truth is already banned by authorities. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t! How could we ever know the real and various healing properties of this lowly nettle plant unless we venture handling it like an expert mountaineer?

What comes up as the real issue is obedience. Yes, obedience to church authorities. In fact, the visionary as well as the religious who supported her showed exemplary obedience already to the Church authorities. Even in its recent history two successive bishops who lifted the ban have resigned because of obedience. Like the stinging nettle hairs, one wouldn’t feel the intense pain for as long as the movement is aligned to the placement of the stings. But any scratching will bring more intense pain as the orientation of the stinging hairs are changed. Expert mountaineers knew how to deal with it. Our Lady, the Seat of Wisdom is not just an expert mountaineer. She as the Mediatrix of All Grace is pointing at her Son for us to acknowledge more definitively. Perhaps, in the end, it is still an issue of obedience, with all of us, religious and lay, finally recognizing her as Mediatrix of All Grace, or not. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

Ricardo B. de los Santos
Kalipayan Mountaineering Society

Recent Posts

The Sanhedrin was the forum for the pharisees, who believed in the resurrection and in angels, and the saducees, who are akin to new theories and philosophies. All beliefs and philosophies concerning God and His creation are allowed to be expressed here.
Copyright © 2021-2023. The Sanhedrin. All rights reserved. Powered by STUDIO EL CID and Ron Mendoza Media